Matthew 14:13-21

Here are my thoughts as I read Matthew 14:13-21 this morning…

When Jesus saw the large crowds, the first feeling He had was compassion. What is my first feeling after a hard day and then I see a large crowd waiting on me? Compassion doesn’t come to mind. Think of the large crowd being my family after a long day at work or doing errands, do I come home to them with compassion for their needs of me, or am I bummed that yet another person needs something from me. I’m afraid it is the latter of the 2. And it shouldn’t be. This crowd, or my family, follow me because the need me.when I come home, or they come home, compassion needs to be the forefront of my mind.

The disciples response at dinner time was, send them away so we can eat, and I’m sure rest. But Jesus’ compassion for them wouldn’t allow that. He challenged the disciples’ compassion by telling them, nope we can feed them right here. But it is important to note that yes He did challenge their compassion, but He guided them through it. I need to remember that Jesus will guide me through those times of compassion when I’m not really feeling the compassion.

Then we move on to Gods provision. He has provisions we don’t even understand or know anything about. We tend to only have faith in Gods provision when we can figure the how behind it. But that shouldn’t be the case. We need to just trust that God will provide, and in the process we may just witness a miracle. And in the process, don’t waste the abundance. Gather it up. It can also be used.

There are 3 principles of Gods provision we can take away from this:
1- thank God for what we already have
2- trust in Gods unlimited resources
3- Don’t waste what He gives you

The Moral Compass

A reflection on Matthew 14:1-12
 

CompassHow often do we look to the world to be our moral compass? Everyday! We do this by making decisions based on what people will think. When, what we should really be doing is making our decisions based on what God will think. Just like Herodias knew how to play Herod, people know how to play us too, to get the result they desire.  But, if we are fixated on Jesus, and He is our moral compass, their tricks and lies won’t matter.

 
Politicians make a career out of doing what they think will get them the most votes. We have to remember that by doing what is right we may lose popularity votes. Jesus didn’t take a political stand when He taught and spoke. He stuck with scripture and told it like it was (and still is by the way). His popularity vote was probably pretty darn low! At least in the eyes of those who seemed to have the power.
 
The question I am wrestling this morning is what is my process for making decisions. When faced with decisions, big or small, I need to step back and say “what would Jesus do”? Those WWJD bracelets were just a fad that went out with the next era, but the message behind them shouldn’t.  Though people may look at you like you’re nuts, you can’t falter from what is right in Gods eyes. The world has really lost sight of that.
 
We were watching a Discovery documentary called When We Left Earth. It detailed NASA’s journey from no one in space to people living and working on space stations for extended periods of time.  (By the way, if you have Netflix, I highly recommend you search for this and watch them. They are a great history lesson!)  Throughout the journey, president after president would make speeches and in these speeches, they would praise and thank God, and they would call on God for help.  Men in Mission Control would pray throughout the entire space mission. They would weep and pray when they lost someone in the name of exploration.  I have to say, seeing President Ronald Reagan speak those words of faith reminded me just how far we have fallen. So it’s no wonder we have madmen going into schools, malls, movie theaters and unleashing disaster on innocent people, many times young children. How can we even utter the words “how could this happen”? It happens because we not so politely told God “Get out! We’ve got this all under control”.  But I wonder, how long until we realize we have NOTHING under control and we are taking Gods special and perfect creation and turning it into something gross and disgusting. (thus endeth my soapbox 🙂 )
 
I was asked the question yesterday “Where is your heart burning, what is God stirring in your life for this new year?”. Well, this is it! God is telling me to be bold and step out each day with my face pointed directly to Him. So in this new year, I am going to focus on Jesus and ask what would He do before I make decisions, big or small. It could even be as small as what I eat that day. I want Jesus to be my moral compass, not this world. This world is a disaster and though I can’t change it on my own power, I can do my part to share and show Jesus. And maybe, just maybe, one person will see Jesus in me, then want to share and show Jesus and so on. Discipleship isn’t easy, but it is our calling. One that we have to take seriously.

Dear God…

Today I was watching an old episode of the show Army Wives and at the end, one of the characters was writing a letter to the family of the man who had died and through the organ donor program she received his cornea. Now, this was a big deal. Had she not received this transplant, she would have never been able to see again. She has a baby girl and she would have missed out on seeing her grow up, on top of that, she would have been discharged from the Army and for this woman, that would have been devastating. She is a soldier through and through. It is her identity. 

In this letter, she promised his wife that she would live a life worthy of his sacrifice. Isn’t that beautiful? She wants to change her ways, be a better person to bring honor to this man who not only fought and died for his country, but gave her a full life. As I was listening to her read the letter, it hit me…. God gave so that we may have a full life. He gave His son so that we could see clearly and live a grace-filled life. Where is our letter to God? Where is our promise to live a life worthy of His sacrifice?  We need to live out this promise. Write a letter to God everyday and promise Him that today we will live a life worthy of His sacrifice.  

I think it is important to re-write the letter every single day because, let’s face it, in a few days our to do list will be ruling our days, and this promise we made today will be forgotten.  With that being said, I challenge myself to start everyday making this promise to God. I know I am going to fail, but I am at least going to try. The sacrifice He made was too great for me to do any less. 

So, do you want to join me?  Write your Dear God letter below!

The “GOD” Basket

This morning, I was reading Ezekiel 19 and  it was all about the kings of Judah falling and that they couldn’t protect the people. They were captured and someone new was put into power who was then captured and it goes on. With this being an election year, I was reminded how in November we all head out to the polling stations with our vote and hope. Hope that this president will be the one to turn this country around.. With hope that this president won’t screw up like the last one did. We go with hope. But our hope and faith is placed on a man. We put all of our eggs in the basket marked “MAN”. Where is our basket marked “GOD”? Do we save even one egg for that basket?

We really have this all backwards. We need to place our “faith eggs” in the “GOD” basket and allow Him to use the person in office to turn things around. We are approaching the whole situation backwards and the longer we do that the longer this country is going to continue to dig itself deeper into debt, unsettledness, and dismay. 

So, this November, I will head to my polling station with my vote for a man and my faith that God will direct the actions of the man for the good of this country.  Once we as a nation get that, then the nation can begin rebuilding a strong core and get back on the right track. Even though we took a wrong turn and kept driving the wrong direction for a long time, our GPS (aka God) will find an alternate route and get us back on the right road. The thing is, a GPS won’t direct you if you don’t turn it on and ask for directions. 

So start today and ask God everyday who is the right person for office, who is the right person that will allow God’s direction in his decisions, who is the right person for our nation. 

And remember, the National Day of Prayer is November 3rd. Spend time in prayer for our country on that day. You won’t be alone. Christians all over the US will be praying too. Let’s join with our brothers and sisters and let our Dad know we’re here and we need Him!

Sin Can’t Be Rationalized

No matter how hard you try, you can’t rationalize your sin. Sin is sin, simple as that! I was reading Jeremiah 3 this morning and it dawned on me that we typically think that what we are doing isn’t bad in comparison to what others are doing, but that isn’t true. If you look at the 10 commandments, obeying your mom and dad is right up there with don’t lie, steal and cheat. It has the same importance as those “terrible things”.

So, as you are going through your day, pay attention to those little things you ignore because they seem insignificant, and put a significance on them and do something. For example, you see someone in need – instead of ignoring it and thinking someone else will handle it, put it in this perspective – what if you saw someone physically hurting a child, would you turn your head? Or would you do something to help that child? Hopefully you would do something for that child. It should be the same with the person in need. Meet them where they are and fulfill a need you are able to. Calling the police to protect a child seems so obvious, but so should pulling out some cash or food for that person who has nothing. It all comes down to need. A need is a need, whether it is food or protection from abuse.

Today I pray for perspective in all the crossroads and situations I encounter. And I pray for God’s heart to be my guiding light.